The Washington, DC-based Institute of Reproductive Health is working on several levels to help providers become proficient in teaching the Standard Days Method (SDM) to women, reports Victoria Jennings, PhD, institute director. With support from the U.S. Agency for International Development, the institute is educating trainers in several countries around the world, and has developed and tested materials that can be adapted to many settings. Training curricula ranges from a three-hour training for health professionals to a two-day training for community-level personnel.
Existing natural methods of family planning are simply too complex and time-consuming for most programs to offer and most clients to learn and use, says Jennings. The SDM offers a new option, she adds.
"Despite the great efforts of many dedicated people over the past two decades, the numbers of users of these methods, such as the Billings Method and the Symptothermal Method, remain low," states Jennings. "We needed something that was program-friendly, provider-friendly, and user-friendly."
Choose from options
The institute makes the following resources available for providers interested in offering the SDM:
• CycleBeads: CycleBeads are distributed with a package insert that guides users through all the steps required to determine whether the method is appropriate for them. It also explains how to use CycleBeads and provides answers to frequently asked questions. The material is available in English, Spanish, and French. (Editor’s note: The beads are available on-line at www.cyclebeads.com. For more information about ordering CycleBeads, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to: Cycle Technologies, 467 Central Park W., Suite 4B, New York, NY 10025. Price varies by number ordered.)
• Introductory CD-ROM: The CD-ROM explains how the SDM was developed and tested and how to use CycleBeads. It also provides a checklist for screening potential users and responses to frequently asked questions. It is available in English and Spanish. Price is $5, plus $2 shipping and handling; see order information listed below.
• Video or CD-ROM: "CycleBeads: an Easy Way to Use the Standard Days Method." This five-minute audiovisual is appropriate for providers and clients. It emphasizes the importance of informed choice and shows how the method is being used in diverse settings. It also explains how to use CycleBeads. It is available in English. Price is $5 plus $2 shipping and handling; see order information listed below.
• Counseling Guide: This comprehensive guide for providers explains how to appropriately counsel women and couples on the SDM using CycleBeads. The guide describes for whom the SDM is most appropriate and the key aspects covered in a counseling session. It directs the provider through the counseling process in an interactive and easy-to-read format. It is available in English, Spanish, and French. Price is $15 plus $2 shipping and handling. See order information listed below.
• Brochure: This informative brochure explains the SDM, how to use it, and its advantages and disadvantages. It includes a self-assessment for the reader to determine if the method is appropriate for her and addresses some frequently asked questions. It is available in English and Spanish. The brochure is free.
• Training Program: The Institute for Reproductive Health conducts training programs for trainers and service providers. Training programs include participant materials, a pre-training assessment plan, and pre- and post-training consultation with participants. Participant materials include a counseling guide, job aids, a CD-ROM, and samples of CycleBeads. Contact the institute at email@example.com, or call (202) 687-1392. Training is available in English, Spanish, and French. Price varies by location, length of training, and number of participants.
• Training Manual: The manual guides trainers through the process of training providers in the SDM, using CycleBeads. It includes information for designing, conducting, and evaluating training programs, and it addresses issues critical to the successful use of the method, such as the couple’s relationship and gender issues. The content can be adapted to all types of providers, ranging from clinicians to community personnel with limited knowledge of reproductive health and family planning. It is available in English, Spanish, and French. The manual is available to training programs, following consultation with the institute. Price is $45 plus $5 shipping and handling; see order information listed below.
• Distance Training Package: The distance-training package is for providers who are not able to participate in a formal training program. It consists of a pre-test and post-test, a CD-ROM with an overview of the SDM, an explanation of how to use CycleBeads, a checklist for screening potential users, a counseling guide, an introductory video and CD-ROM, and a series of case studies. It is available in English, Spanish, and French. The package is available to training programs or providers, following consultation with the institute. Price is $75 plus $5 shipping and handling; see order information listed below.
Check order information
Unless otherwise noted, all resources are available from the Institute for Reproductive Health and can be ordered on-line at www.irh.org, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by fax at (202) 537-7450, or by mail at: Institute for Reproductive Health, 4301 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Suite 310, Washington, DC 20008. Institute materials are available at no cost to selected organizations that support family planning and reproductive health programs in developing countries. Prices given are for organizations in developed countries only. Checks are payable to DGI/IRH. Allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.